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Energy
5:23 pm
Wed December 11, 2013

Big Batteries Needed To Make Fickle Wind And Solar Power Work

PG&E, a Northern California utility company, is already experimenting with big batteries to store wind-generated electricity at its Vaca-Dixon Substation.
Richard Harris NPR

Originally published on Thu December 12, 2013 8:57 am

Giant batteries are coming to a power grid near you. In fact, they're already starting to appear on the grid in California.

That's because California is planning to rely increasingly on power supplies that aren't necessarily available every minute of every day. The state plans to get one-third of its electricity from wind and solar energy by 2020.

Utilities in the state are trying to figure out how they can cope with that uncertain power supply. Batteries aren't a panacea, but they could help.

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The Two-Way
5:20 pm
Wed December 11, 2013

The Things We Did And Said In 2013, According To Facebook

What the world was talking about on Facebook in 2013. The social media site released a review of the most popular topics, events, and places Wednesday.
Facebook

Originally published on Wed December 11, 2013 5:38 pm

Did you travel in 2013? Perhaps you went to Disneyland. Or maybe you met someone special or watched the Super Bowl. Those moments of commonality are being highlighted by Facebook, which today released its list of the year's most popular topics, events and places.

After we spent a few moments reviewing the most common life events people reported in 2013, the list reads a bit like a 10-sentence short story — perhaps a fable or a coming-of-age tale.

See what you think: Here are the events Facebook says "people added to their Timeline most frequently in 2013."

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Shots - Health News
4:02 pm
Wed December 11, 2013

Staph Germs Hide Out In The Hidden Recesses Of Your Nose

The interior of the nose is like a lush rain forest that's barely been explored.
Courtesy of Sunje Pamp

Originally published on Thu December 12, 2013 3:33 pm

Otherwise innocuous bacteria can cause deadly infections when people have surgery or fall ill. To prevent trouble, patients sometimes have their bodies scrubbed clean of Staphylococcus aureus.

But it doesn't always work.

That may because the germs thrive in upper recesses of the nose, far from the spots typically tested for staph bacteria, or where antibiotics are applied.

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NPR Story
4:00 pm
Wed December 11, 2013

Big Parts For Actresses In This Season's Movies

The all-star cast of "August: Osage County" is led by Meryl Streep (center) and Julia Roberts (right). (The Weinstein Company)

Originally published on Tue December 17, 2013 10:51 am

Ty Burr, film critic for the Boston Globe, gives Here & Now’s Meghna Chakrabarti a rundown of the latest releases.

He says the recent movies released feature meaty and varied parts for actresses, and some great performances.

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NPR Story
4:00 pm
Wed December 11, 2013

Audio Postcard: Smoggy Streets Of Shanghai

Smog in Shanghai (Frank Langfitt/NPR)

Originally published on Tue December 17, 2013 10:51 am

NPR’s Frank Langfitt brings Here & Now an audio postcard from the streets of Shanghai.

Last week, the smog in Shanghai, China, reached hazardous levels. On Friday, smog set records in Shanghai. The Air Quality Index soared over 600, which is officially “beyond index,” or off-the-charts awful.

And on Saturday morning, there was essentially a smog white-out, according to Langfitt. Visibility was down to about 40 feet.

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NPR Story
4:00 pm
Wed December 11, 2013

Tribal Fishery Opposes Washington Coal Terminal

Tribal treaty fishing rights give Washington tribes the opportunity to weigh in on, and even block, projects that could impact their fishing grounds.(Ashley Ahearn/KUOW Photo)

Originally published on Tue December 17, 2013 10:51 am

About a quarter of all the coal the U.S. exports goes to Asian markets. To meet the demand, there are plans to build what would be the largest coal terminal in North America at a place called Cheery Point in the far northwestern corner of Washington state.

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Planet Money
2:44 pm
Wed December 11, 2013

We Found This 20-Year-Old T-Shirt In Kenya. The Internet Found The Original Owner

Tshirt
Quoctrung Bui

Originally published on Thu December 12, 2013 12:46 am

We recently published a story about how used clothes that get donated in the U.S. often wind up for sale in markets in Africa. As part of the story, we published some photos of used T-shirts we found in a couple of markets in Kenya.

One shirt in particular caught our eye:

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The Salt
1:47 pm
Wed December 11, 2013

Chowing Down On Meat, Dairy Alters Gut Bacteria A Lot, And Quickly

Morgan Walker NPR

Originally published on Fri December 13, 2013 11:24 am

Looks like Harvard University scientists have given us another reason to walk past the cheese platter at holiday parties and reach for the carrot sticks instead: Your gut bacteria will thank you.

Switching to a diet packed with meat and cheese — and very few carbohydrates — alters the trillions of microbes living in the gut, scientists report Wednesday in the journal Nature.

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It's All Politics
1:41 pm
Wed December 11, 2013

6 Things Missing From The Budget Agreement

House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan, R-Wis., left, and Senate Budget Committee Chairwoman Patty Murray, D-Wash., walk to announce a tentative agreement Tuesday between Republican and Democratic negotiators on a government spending plan.
J. Scott Applewhite AP

Originally published on Wed December 11, 2013 3:46 pm

The essence of the budget deal reached by Sen. Patty Murray, D-Wash., and Rep Paul Ryan, R-Wis., is better understood by looking at what's missing, rather than what's included in it.

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Deceptive Cadence
1:39 pm
Wed December 11, 2013

Funk, Faust And Stone: Three Stunning Albums From 2013

Violinist Isabelle Faust.
Courtesy of the artist

Originally published on Wed December 11, 2013 6:26 pm

Throughout this week, we at NPR Music are taking a look at the year in music with our friend Audie Cornish, host of All Things Considered. I joined her to bring a closer ear to two very impressive classical albums and an international rarity that's been brought back to life. (I also provided Audie with a primer on pronouncing my last name. I hope you all pay close attention.)

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